5 minutes with… the garfield county library district executive director
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Occupation: New Executive Director of the Garfield County Library District
Live in: Rifle
Place of birth: Springfield, Mo.
How long in Garfield County? Two months
Hobbies: I like just being outside. I ski. I like gardening ” and reading, of course.
How long have you been working in libraries? 13 years. Prior to that, I was a regular volunteer in libraries. I already really like the work. It just didn’t occur to me I could get paid doing it.
Why libraries? There’s two things. I just have a real passion for libraries. I believe a literate society makes better decisions. The other piece is that I really love providing people with information. Helping people find what they’re looking for really appeals to me. It’s like a treasure hunt.
Describe your current position: I’m still learning my job. Basically, I’m in charge of seeing the bigger picture, seeing what the future holds for these communities. Also, a big part of my job is helping out the community. Making sure what the community’s needs are, making sure the library is in line with those needs.
(There are six libraries in the system, from Rifle to Carbondale, she explained. For each, she is looking at what they might require five, 10, 30 years down the road, in order to be “relevant.”)
What’s the most exciting part about your job? The opportunity in all new communities to create libraries that will be a lot more dynamic than we have now. I really, really like the staff in the libraries. They’re very excited and committed. It helps me be excited, too. For me, it’s an adventure. Learning a new job, getting to know lots of new communities, lots of new people.
What is the most challenging part of your job? A couple of things. Deciding which communities to expand in, I think that will be a challenge. It will really depend on our space. You want to do the right thing at the right time. We don’t know if the communities will be ready at the same time we are.
As a librarian, what has been your greatest achievement? For me, at this point, it’s got to be in Cheyenne, when we opened a new 100,003-square-foot library.
(Much larger than the former library, the eco-friendly space included areas for early and teen readers, meeting rooms and a cafeteria. As manager of youth and outreach
services, Shelley was an integral part of the design and construction process.)
I’m certainly hoping to take these experiences and build upon that, so I can do great things in Garfield County.
What’s your greatest accomplishment as a person? Oh, raising two wonderful kids,
who I’ve watched go out into the world.
In your eyes, do books still matter? (She has no resistance, she said, to new forms of media. But, to her, there’s still something special about turning the pages of a book.) I think that books remain relevant, if you just look at popular culture now. I mean, how many books are being made into movies? Plus, it’s a way to go back in time. I just don’t think you can get that any other way.
What the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? I guess it would be from my former director, when I said I was going to take this job. She said, ‘You’re ready.’ I hope she’s right.” (Laughing) But I do have to say, my mother was the greatest inspiration of my life. She said I could do whatever I wanted in life. And she meant it.
What’s the most important thing in your life? Probably family. It’s hard to get past that, because they’re the ones who help and support me.
Book: “The Razors Edge,” by Somerset Maugham
Movie: “Lagaan” (a hour-hour long Indian film, chronicling a game of cricket)
Move based on a book: “Princess Bride”
Literary hero or heroine: Tuesday Next, a literary detective and start in Jasper
Fforde’s series of novels
Favorite literary villain: Voldemort, from the “Harry Potter” series
Favorite place to read: Oh, in the sun, curled up in a chair.
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